Saturday, May 30, 2009

Everybody Loves Me at Western Illinois University!

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Uncle Fred and Aunt Laura because Elijah was sporting the shirt you gave him! Thank you for thinking of him!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Our First Visit to the Library

I used to teach Good News Club at a local elementary school each Friday, but the school year is almost over so clubs have ended until the new school year resumes. Most of my time each Friday was spent caring for Elijah and preparing to teach or lead songs and activities. It was always fun to practice leading the songs for Elijah. I would sing and dance and he would just giggle. Aaron came home from work a bit early to care for Elijah so I could leave for club and teach without the distraction of a cute, little baby. It was such a blessing for me to be a part of this ministry. I was trained by Child Evangelism Fellowship and I learned how to more effectively share the gospel in the context of just about any Bible story. The training was top-notch! I also got to see several kids pray to receive Christ this year and grow in their faith as we talked about what the Bible has to say about our lives.

Clubs ending for th
e year was bitter sweet. I'll miss the kids and teachers, but it is so nice to have a day that I don't have to leave the apartment if I don't want to. I have used my time on some Fridays to try to catch up on cleaning, organizing and projects. Other Fridays I meet with my dear friend Deborrah, our worship leader's new wife, and we have lunch, go through a chapter of Power of a Praying Wife during Elijah's afternoon nap and then go for a walk with Elijah. Today she couldn't make it so I decided Elijah and I would take our first outing to the library! I lathered him up with sun screen, packed our back-pack, stuck him in the baby Bjorn and we were off. It seemed like a very long walk especially after Elijah's weight was combined with my back-pack full of books, cds and dvds!

It was a pretty fun outing. We stopped by Safeway on the way to enjoy the air conditioning and I bought Elijah a couple snacks. So, on the way to the library, for the first time, he chomped on a banana that wasn't cut up or mashed up. It was pretty cute. He is able to take bites with his two little bottom teeth and his upper gum. We wandered around a bit tying to get acquainted with the library and most of the time we were there, Elijah just smiled at the kids around him, watched them or squealed with excitement (very loudly I might add) when somebody interacted with him. He looked at/chewed on some books while I picked some board books for him. The book I am most excited about though is for me: The Encyclepedia of Infant and Toddler Activities. I want to do new things with Elijah that will help his brain develop, but I am often at a loss as to what to do. I am hoping this has some new, quality ideas. I am going to curl up with it in a few minutes, but I just wanted to share two more of Elijah's firsts: the library and eating a banana!

Oops, Daddy!

When Daddy changes Elijah's diaper or better yet dresses Elijah for the day, you never know what you are going to get. Aaron didn't figure out there was a problem with Elijah's jeans until he tried to put him his jumperoo to play. Silly boys!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Some of you may wonder how Elijah and I spend our time. Well, four days out of the week we spend time with either Maddie or Aidan, two sweet kiddos both Elijah and I love. These are kiddos that I care for while their parents are working. In this post I'll tell you about Maddie and in the next post you'll hear about Aidan. The great thing about caring for kids is that is allows us to bring in a little extra money, but I get to be with Elijah. That is really important to Aaron and me. In addition, I also have developed relationships with their parents, which has been truly a blessing.

Maddie is two months older than Elijah so it is very fun to watch them grow and change together, but it can be very challenging on some days. Both Elijah and Maddie seem to be pretty easy going, but if one seems to be having an off day, or better yet, both of them seem to be having an off day, I can end up a bit frazzled! Fortunately, that is quite rare. It has been very helpful for me to see the stages Maddie goes through and how her parents respond because it prepares me for when Elijah does the same. Maddie's parents, Henry and Miranda, are such an example to me in both their faith and in parenting. I know they appreciate my time with Maddie, but I feel like I am the one who benefits the most from all I learn from them. For example, Maddie is a stellar sleeper and that is one of the reasons I decided to change my approach to Elijah's sleep. I'll tell you more about our stuggle with sleep som
e other time, but Miranda always seems happy to help when I have questions.

Elijah and Maddie are on pretty similar schedules also so that helps a great deal with managing two little ones at the same time. We spend 10 hours with Maddie every Tuesday. We get there at 7:30 am, eat breakfast and then it is nap time. I try to always spend time with God during the first nap of the day, but the great thing is that there are two naps if I have to miss it for some reason. I have found that my time reading the Bible and in prayer is the only way for me to maintain a balanced life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally...well, in every way. I treasure my time with Him because He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16, my life verse..)!

When the kids wake up they play for a bit until it is time for bottles and lunch. One of the challenges is getting three different meals prepared at each meal, getting all of us fed, including me, and then trying to get everything cleaned up before their morning or afternoon nap so I don't make a bunch of noise upstairs when Elijah is sleeping downstairs. Both of their meals are already prepared ahead of time, but it still takes me a good amo
unt of time to get all I need at the table, to get hands washed, bibs on, etc. Meals work well if neither Maddie or Elijah is being a challenging eater. Elijah usually eats well, but when he is overtired it is somewhat of a battle. Elijah has had a difficult time napping there since it isn't home, but I am really hoping that will change as he gets more adjusted to being at a different home. Wednesdays at home are usually difficult days of short naps and adjustment also since he is overtired from the short naps on Tuesdays. I am really praying that he will nap well there in the future.

So, after lunch its afternoon nap time. When they wake up we go for a walk to the park by their home and have our snacks. I think their favorite thing to do at the park is swing in the baby swings. I push them both and I take turns making each of them giggle as they swing near me. Elijah's second favorite park activity is to try to eat the wood chips when I let him sit in them. It is a full time job trying to keep them out of his mouth and then retrieving the occasional chip that makes it past my guard. Maddie, of course, is a lovely young lady who would never dare to put a wood chip in her mouth! So, that helps. Yuck! I think that may be because her second favorite thing is to people watch. She is very observant and watches everything that is going on around her very closely while Elijah is busy trying to put everything possible in his mouth. Maddie doesn't just observe people, but every detail in anything new she gets her hands on. It is neat to watch her study things with fascination. We don't have much time at the park before we have to head back home.

On the way home I have to walk up a killer hill with Elijah in the baby Bjorn and Maddie in the stroller. It is quite a good work out for me. When we get home I feed the kiddos dinner and then her parents come home. Then I rush home and try to get something
for Aaron and me to eat so I can get Elijah bathed, bottled, brushed and to bed by 7:00pm. Some days I am more prepared than others and have dinner precooked, but those days seem a bit rare. As my mentor, Daudette, would quote, "Fail to plan, plan to fail." I am growing in the area of planning though! Praise God!

One of the other things I love about Elijah being around Maddie is that she never stops moving. I think she has raised Elijah's curiosity in the area of mobility! She is about the same size as Elijah because she is a adorable, petite little lady so it may make him wonder even more why she can do all she does and he doesn't.

I am thankful to be a part of this family's life and for them to be a part of ours.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

We went to a Bar-b-Que at Mike and Karen Tausher's house today. I cared for the two boys they adopted two years ago until the youngest started pre-school so I know their family well and love them. This first picture is Elijah with their oldest son, Franklin. Franklin and Levi both enjoy little ones so it is fun to watch them rush to play with him. Their parents, Mike and Karen, have really helped Aaron and me through some rough times and are people we go to for help when we need it. We had other friends from various aspects of our life join us also, which made it even more fun, if that is possible! So, we also celebrated Memorial Day with a couple from our apartment complex, Michael and Itzi; a family I nanny for currently, Ian, Lisa and Aidan; and a friend I met through the Tausher kids, Linda and her son, Russel. It was great to get to spend the day with people we love. Elijah enjoyed all the attention he got and must really be convinced that he is the center of the universe. The funniest part of the day was when all eyes were on me telling a story when Elijah leaned over to his daddy because Aaron was going to hold him. As soon as he leaned over Aaron, he spit up on Aaron, which is quite unusual these days. Everybody cracked up and we proceeded to tell more stories about similar "situations," as I call them! The Elijah highlight of the day though was when he waved at Ian, Lisa and Aidan when they were leaving. That was the first time I've seen him do that!

Memorial Day

As you can see, Elijah is starting to pull on his ear again, which he did for a week before his first two teeth showed up, so I assume another tooth is on its way. Fortunately, he did not seem to get grumpy.

Memorial Day

After Elijah was persistent in grabbing for his glasses, Mike actually let Elijah wear them for a bit. Pretty cute!

Where's Elijah? There he is!

Elijah is 8 and 1/2 months old and it has been by far one of the most entertaining and enjoyable months! If you talk to me often enough I'm sure you notice that at every stage of his development I have said, "Oh, I love this stage! I don't want him to grow any more!" But, it just keeps getting better! I cannot believe how much I love this child!

So the last month has been especially fun because he has done many new things. He has been sitting up independently for quite some time now, but now he goes from sitting upright to a crawling position. He hasn't actually crawled, but he bounces forward and backward and eventually either falls on his belly, does a face plant or occasionally his hands get spread so far apart that he just starts fussing because his nose is inches from the ground and he can't hold himself up much longer with his hands so far apart. He is rolling a ton now and he pulls himself up.

Aaron and I both think he seems to be really strong, but he has insanely strong legs because he is an avid jumper! Jump is one of his favorite words. When he hears it he starts jumping and giggling because he thinks he's going to get to play in his jumperoo. The absolute highlight of the week was when he was sitting on the floor with the beautiful quilt my aunt made for him and he started playing peek-a-boo unassisted! I often play peek-a-boo with Elijah using his bibs when I am getting him ready to eat, but it was so fun to see him doing it. He would pull the blanket over his face and then when he pulled it down he would crack up! I was amazed and even stunned momentarily. It took me a minute to get the camera to record it, but here it is for your enjoyment!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Welcome to The Olson Odessey!

Welcome to our blog! Creating this blog has been a pretty overwhelming bullet on my to-do list, but this month I decided I just had to get this up and going so our family and friends across the miles can see our Elijah growing and changing! Elijah is such a blessing and both Aaron and I truly delight in him. I hope this blog allows those of you who are near and far away to get a glimpse into our adventurous journey of life: the Olson Odessey!